PUBLISHED AUG 14, 2019

Best Suspense Books

Reads for Quickening Your Pulse

Thrillers, dystopias, and mysteries, oh my. These picks are guaranteed to get your heart racing.

"The Testaments" by Margaret Atwood
"The Testaments" by Margaret Atwood

Blessed be the sequel. Set 15 years after “The Handmaid’s Tale,” Atwood is back. So is Aunt Lydia and a lot of trouble in Gilead.

Read
"The Last Widow" by Karin Slaughter
"The Last Widow" by Karin Slaughter

Karin Slaughter, an all-time HQ fave, is back with a new book that'll keep you up at night. In this one, a CDC scientist is mysteriously kidnapped. When an explosion hits Atlanta a month later, Slaughter's recurring characters Will Trent (an investigator) and Sara Linton (a medical examiner) become determined to get to the bottom of it all.

Read
"Speaking of Summer" by Kalisha Buckhanon
"Speaking of Summer" by Kalisha Buckhanon

The novel centers on two sisters, Summer and Autumn, who live in Harlem. After Summer mysteriously disappears, Autumn sets out to find her and unravels in the process.

Read
"Chances Are" by Richard Russo
"Chances Are" by Richard Russo

This one's all about the past coming back to haunt. When three lifelong friends return to Martha's Vineyard, where a woman they loved disappeared 40 years earlier, a cold case becomes hot again.

Read
"Lady in the Lake" by Laura Lippman
"Lady in the Lake" by Laura Lippman

1960s Baltimore marks the spot. Cleo Sherwood is your leader and she’s trying to solve a murder—or two. Along the way, Cleo learns just as much about herself as she does about the murders case she’s investigating.

Read
"The Need" by Helen Phillips
"The Need" by Helen Phillips

It follows a mother and her two children as she begins to hear strange things in her home. The plot takes off when mom finds herself in close corners with an intruder who looks, feels, sounds a wholeeeee lot like her. It’s “A Quiet Place,” meets Jordan Peele’s “Us,” and is giving us the spooks. 

Read
Turn of the Key Ruth Ware
"Turn of the Key" by Ruth Ware

Ruth Ware—one of our favorite thriller writers—is bringing down the house. This one's about a smart house that turns scary very quickly when a new nanny comes to work there...and a child gets murdered. Maybe don't read it alone in a house but do read it for a fast paced ride.

Read
More Than Words
"More Than Words" by Jill Santopolo

When the owner of a fancy hotel chain dies, he leaves behind a big secret that seriously shakes up his daughter’s life. And makes her rethink her relationship status. This one--by the author of The Light We Lost—is best read at home (hint: tissues).

Read
My Lovely Wife
"My Lovely Wife" by Samantha Downing

To give their marriage a much needed spark, this seemingly normal suburban couple turns to...murder. Again and again. Think: “Dexter” but sexier.

Read
Lights All Night Long
"Lights All Night Long" by Lydia Fitzpatrick

Brotherhood? Check. Murders? Check. Russia? Check. Corruption and betrayal? Check and check. This book has it all. It follows two brothers – one who confessed to a series of murders in small town Russia, and one in Louisiana who wants to prove his brother's innocence.

Read
A Prayer for Travelers
"A Prayer for Travelers" by Ruchika Tomar

This one’s all about two friends in the American West. One of them vanishes, and the other sets out through the desert to save her. Think: missing-person novel meets emotional coming-of-age story. Oh, and the chapters are all out of order...so it's on you to put together the pieces.

Read
The Witch Elm
"The Witch Elm" by Tana French

This new book from one of our favorite thriller writers is about a 27-year-old guy living a charmed life. But everything changes when he gets seriously injured, moves to his uncle's house to recuperate...and the house is haunted in more ways than one. Halloween: it wasn't over, it still isn't over.

Read
The Masterpiece
"The Masterpiece" by Fiona Davis

Did you know there was an art school inside NYC's Grand Central Terminal in the 1920s? Decades later, a woman stumbles upon the remains of the abandoned school and finds a painting hidden there. Cue a quest to learn more about the mysterious artist. All aboard intrigue.

Read
When The Lights Go Out
"When The Lights Go Out" by Mary Kubica

Mary Kubica knows how to do thrillers. In this one, a young woman is rebuilding her life after losing her mom. But when she applies to college, there's a problem with her Social Security number: it belongs to a girl who died 17 years earlier. Cue a literal identity crisis and a mystery that'll keep you turning pages.

Read
The Favorite Sister
"The Favorite Sister" Jessica Knoll

About a reality show called "Goal Diggers." It's a whodunnit murder mystery that's a little bit like if "Real Housewives" and "Shark Tank" had a reality baby.

Read
Grist Mill Road
"Grist Mill Road" by Christopher J. Yates

This book pairs well with its dark and twisted plot. It's about three kids who were part of a bizarre crime in the '80s. Decades later, they reunite - and surprising new details emerge.

Read
A Stranger in the House
"A Stranger in the House" by Shari Lapena

For when you're staying in all weekend, this book keep you busy. It's about a woman who loses her memory after a car crash...which doesn't help when the cops think she was up to something shady before the accident.

Read
The Water Cure
"The Water Cure" by Sophie Mackintosh

Paging all fans of “The Handmaid's Tale.” This one's about three sisters who grew up fearing men and living on an isolated island. When three strangers suddenly arrive, everything they know comes into question. It’s feminist dystopia meets "The Virgin Suicides."

Read
Machines Like Me
"Machines Like Me" by Ian McEwan

The author of "Atonement" is back. This one is set in 1980s London...but it's an alternate universe. There's a love triangle, ethical dilemmas, robots, and AI. Cheerio, relevant topic.

Read
Come With Me
"Come With Me" by Helen Schulman

Imagine all the paths you could've taken. Now imagine a product that could let you live them out. In this book, a tech startup develops an algorithm that does just that and uses one of its employees as the guinea pig. Think: "Sliding Doors" meets "Silicon Valley."

Read
The Butterfly Garden
"The Butterfly Garden" by Dot Hutchison

For when you need a new trilogy... This is the first of three books about a mysterious garden and the women trapped there. Skimm HQ already can't wait to get into book two.

Read
Outlander
"Outlander" by Diana Gabaldon

Imagine you're torn between two lives...in different centuries. Diana Gabaldon's "Outlander" book series follows a former British combat nurse in the 1940s who time travels to 18th century Scotland. Different worlds, all the feels.

Read
The Immortalists
"The Immortalists" by Chloe Benjamin

This book follows four siblings over decades after a psychic tells them when they're all going to die. You won't be able to put it down.

Read
The Farm (Joanne Ramos)
"The Farm" by Joanne Ramos

Imagine an all-expenses paid luxury spa retreat for women. The catch? You have to carry someone else's baby to be there. This one's like "The Handmaid's Tale" meets Liane Moriarty ("Big Little Lies" author).

Read
Searching for Sylvie Lee
"Searching for Sylvie Lee" by Jean Kwok

Keep the detective work going with this read. It centers on a 26-year-old woman's mission to find her missing sister. In the process, she finds a lot of family secrets.

Read
Strangers and Cousins
"Strangers and Cousins" by Leah Hager Cohen

This one is about a wedding with a drama as everyone's plus one. Think: family secrets, newcomers in town, a mansion sale gone wrong, and more.

Read
Disappearing Earth
“Disappearing Earth” by Julia Phillips

Set in northeastern Russia, the book follows one year of a police investigation into the disappearance of two sisters both under 11. Each chapter is one month into their vanishing and along the way you’ll meet witnesses, neighbors, and detectives. Plus the town of Kamchatka is a character all of its own.

Read
Miracle Creek
“Miracle Creek” by Angie Kim

This is the summer courtroom drama you’ve been waiting for. Set in rural Virginia, a trial unfolds after a couple engage in an experimental medical treatment gone wrong. One day, their pressurized oxygen chamber that’s supposed to cure things like autism and infertility, explodes – and so too, does their lives.

Read

PS: These are editorially selected, but if you purchase, theSkimm may get something in return. Thanks.

Sign up for the Daily Skimm and join the millions who already wake up with us.